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Old 09-27-2010, 10:24 PM   #1
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The Importance of Protein Skimmers

I just got a 29 Gallon Saltwater from a friend and it came with a MarineLand Canister Filter; H.O.T Magnum Pro rated for 55 Gallons; however, it did not come with a Protein Skimmer, so I am now in the proccess of looking for one.

How important are they? I'd imagine this may or may not depend on the fish one is housing in the tank? Also, how expensive of a Skimmer should I be looking at for a tank this size? Is a $50 dollar Skimmer for a 29 gal tank going to be too cheap to be effecient? Is there anywhere you can tell what tank size a particular Skimmer is rated for? And what are your favorite brands? I've heard good things about Remora, I know.

I just moved into my first apartment and want to do a good job on this tank, albeit I am on a bit of a budget (but hey, who isn't?)

I know people swear up and down how amazing protein skimmers are, so I am definitely interested in trying one.
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Old 09-27-2010, 10:48 PM   #2
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Any skimmer is better than no skimmer. I can't think of any new skimmers for $50. Even something like a Seaclone is better than nothing. If you can find a deal on a remora that would be a good option.

Skimmers are very important for almost any tank. They provide a ton of aeration and remove a lot of waste before it even gets a chance to breakdown as part of the nitrogen cycle. Tanks with skimmers are less likely to crash in my experience and are a little more stable.
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Old 09-27-2010, 10:55 PM   #3
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I'm a newbie so take it for what it's worth, but in my limited experience and from what I've read you could get by without a skimmer with a 29. Just keep up with the water changes and you should be ok.
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Old 09-27-2010, 11:01 PM   #4
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It is possible, and on smaller tanks that is what I would recommend. But in my opinion and experience, at least eventually, you should get a skimmer on there.
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Old 09-28-2010, 02:02 AM   #5
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It really depends on what you want out of your tank. If you're looking at going FO (fish only), then a skimmer probably isn't a must-have. While no to little nitrates is good for any tank, fish can tolerate nitrate far better than coral. If you want a reef tank, then maybe you might want to consider a skimmer - depending on your planned maintenance schedule. Seems like you're right about the size where people start thinking about skimmers.

I think you're right though - a $50 skimmer isn't going to be worth much. In my opinion, "you get what you pay for" when it comes to skimmers and lighting. That's not saying that if it's expensive, it's good... just saying that if it's cheap, it probably isn't the greatest. Most skimmers will give you a rating as far as tank size. The trick though is deciphering what that means since there's no standard. What is good for a 55g with one manufacturer might another's 125g rated model. It's best to narrow down your choices based on your available space/room and ask for opinions.
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Old 09-28-2010, 03:02 AM   #6
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Any skimmer is better than no skimmer. I can't think of any new skimmers for $50. Even something like a Seaclone is better than nothing. If you can find a deal on a remora that would be a good option.
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I would disagree on this. Your seaclones and coralifes are honestly just going to take up space and waste your money. If you are tight on money, I would try and score a larger tank for a sump (or get a sump) off something like craigslist and throw a bunch of macro algae in there. Chaetomorpha is widely considered one of the best for removing a lot of the same things a protein skimmer will.

In my experience, it is always better to try the more "natural" route on things before investing in equipment. As you grow in this hobby you might find your tanks needs will as well, which is when it is time to start looking into your more sophisticated equipment.

There are also things like 5 gallon bucket remote deep sand beds, and algae scrubbers that are just a more advanced "natural" methods. It's some interesting reading if you have the time.
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Old 09-28-2010, 07:29 AM   #7
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Not in my experience. Higher end skimmers can definitely put some of the beginner level ones to shame, but you will get aeration and skimmate production. Many are harder to tweak as well. At the LFS I was running we had AquaCs, Bubble Kings, and others and the one that had some of the best skimmate production was a pieced together used one that we had to make in a pinch one day. I know Seaclones are the stereotypical bad skimmer, but they are still a skimmer and you will still get skimmate out with them. It is still better than not having a skimmer at all and you could really score with a used one if someone else is upgrading or tearing down their tank.
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Old 09-28-2010, 01:12 PM   #8
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Protein skimmers remove some inorganic impurities like phosphates. It also remove any toxins released by corals or invertebrates present in the aquarium.
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Old 09-28-2010, 02:37 PM   #9
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Protein skimmers remove some inorganic impurities like phosphates. It also remove any toxins released by corals or invertebrates present in the aquarium.
Please cite a source or study for that information. I believe it to be false, but I've been known to be wrong.
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Old 09-28-2010, 03:41 PM   #10
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I think I would agree with both sides,A 29g is still small enough to do without a skimmer as long as 10-15% pwc are done,A sump with chaeto would also be an advantage but most of all a skimmer(maybe octopus) and a sump would definately do the best job,as for size of skimmer it depends whether or not you may want to upgrade your tank size (which is common)in the near future so getting a skimmer large enough to cope with a larger tank could be the answer if you have the room and the money.
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